Europe 2014

Bayeux, 19-21 May


  Driving to Bayeux, we again visited the Château de Crèvecœur, a charming place with much half-timbering. This is the gatehouse. †
  Roof trussing inside the building shown in the previous photo. *
  The formidable keep. †
We had visited Bayeux previously in 2002 and had seen the Tapestry then. One of the main reasons for this visit was to see some of the D-Day beaches, so we took a full day tour with Overlord Tours of the British and Canadian sectors. There was just our guide Olivier, a young Canadian couple and us, so the tour was quite personalised. It was also a bit disjointed. There is little in the way of photos or relics to record the landings on these beaches, Juno, Gold and Sword because the residents needed to rebuild later whereas the US landing areas were less well built up and much of the visual remains are still there.
  The first visit was to a coastal gun battery with the guns still in place. This is unusual, as most guns were removed because of the value of the metal. †
  It rather reminded us of a Dalek. *
  Then to Arromanches-les-Bains to see the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour built to supply the invasion troops and to take injured soldiers and captured Germans back to Britain. *
  There were, of course, many memorials. *
  The Canadians gathered their dead into war cemeteries ... *
  while the British preferred to bury theirs close to where they died, often in an existing church cemetery ... *
  and were prepared to honour their enemies. *
  This was the one building left standing at one of the beaches, and it was used by the Canadians as their HQ. †
  One of the defence guns, able to fire along the beach or inland, but not seawards. *
  A large bunker sitting in someone's back yard. *
  The first military operation on D-Day occurred just after midnight, when gliders flew in troops to capture Pagasus Bridge, over the canal and river linking Caen with the sea, to prevent it being used by the Germans to bring in more troops. When the bridge had to be replaced in 1994, it was bought and is now a major feature of the Pegasus Museum. *
  The Museum also has a replica of the Horsa gliders used in the attack. It is difficult to believe that they could fly, let alone transport 30 men and a truck. *
  A nearby bar milks the connection heavily. †
  The next morning, we wandered around Bayeux, admiring the old buildings. *
  We visited the Art and History Museum, which had good information on the history of Bayeux, and also the old Palais de Justice. *
  An old shop on the main street, now used for antique sales rather than stationery. †
  The highlight of Bayeux for us was the cathedral. *
  Columns in the crypt. *
  As part of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a new bell had been cast for the cathedral. When we visited, it was on display in the nave. *

We visited the foundry where the bell had been cast the next day, as we moved on towards Vitré.


Copyright © 2014 by *Lynn Booth or †Nick Booth. Please contact us if you wish to use a photo.